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How to Fight Modern Art

It’s a pretty well known fact that modern art is bad. It’s supposed to be bad. Once, the purpose of art was to transcend the ugliness of this world and reach for the virtue of beauty, but that’s all done away with. One of the most heinous crimes committed by traditional art was preaching beauty was the same as good, but there are ugly things in this world that, when seen through a different lens, can also be beautiful. This is very true. Rembrandt took vagrants, elderly people, outcasts in general, and painted them in such captivating, ecstatic beauty while still retaining their shabbiness, wrinkles, and age.

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Modern art doesn’t do that.

Instead, artists like Duchamp, Manet, Jeff Koons, and so on seek only to desecrate and offend, not the artistic academics who hold the power over what is and isn’t considered art, mind you, but people who love beautiful art and long for meaning and beauty in their own lives who’ve long since given up on the art world after what the cesspool it’s become. They stole art from us. They distorted it so the only ones who can enjoy it are those who are “clever enough” to understand it. Of course modern art must be fought, must be rebelled against. By their (the Academics’) own definition, the ones in power are only there to lord it over the rest of us, and stole said power from the rest of us. Why should they be surprised if their precious and meaningful world of modern art was suddenly toppled down by an angry mob to tear down their vision and replace it with a more caring and brighter ideology?

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Tracy Emin’s “My Bed.” Where it’s not enough to just credit the artist, I couldn’t even put in this blog post without linking BOTH Wikipedia pages because “It’s so special” or something.

You see how evil that last paragraph was? How resentful?

Some of you might have enjoyed reading it (I sure enjoyed writing it), or a version of it where “modern art” was replaced by some other ideology you don’t like.

I’ve been writing (albeit not often enough) about this for years. I’ve always loved art. I love looking at it and making it. If I was to live alone anywhere in the world, it would be Florence or Rome where art and beauty is literally everywhere. I naively hoped that the Art School would nurture that love. Instead, all I got was snobbishness, disdain, and hatred from the teachers and students for any Classical art with a glimmer of hope and beauty.  I felt personally and spiritually injured by these people. As a result, many of my past blog posts have been attacks. They were criticisms that I was either to scared or too incoherent to convey in the classroom. While it was cathartic, it wasn’t helpful. Not in the slightest.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to Roger Scruton and G.K. Chesterton. These were two men whose beliefs I felt were similar to mine. Roger Scruton, in his almost pompous, Oxford-educated demeanor, also believed modern art was an enemy to civilization, but he effectively portrayed a great love for the beauty of art.

Somehow, around the same time of discovering this wonderful man, I also started listening to an audio book by G.K. Chesterton. His words were concise, intelligent, but also filled with a great love.

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Anyone with hair like that is a guy worth grabbing a beer with… Or a cup of tea at least… he looks more like a tea person.

He did criticize rationalists, people like Nietzsche, but rather than in a disdainful tone, his criticisms were a mixture of light humor and sadness. To him, these weren’t people who were evil and just wanted to watch the world burn, like how we typically think of those we think are our enemies, but instead, pitiable (but still loveable) people who are missing out on a great joy and mystery in life.

The following words came into my head, they weren’t anything that Chesterton or Scruton explicitly said, they just kind of formed in my brain on their own:

“Love your friends more than you hate your enemies.”

I was thinking about these words, and I thought to myself,

“Do I really love art? Or do I just hate modern art? And if I do love art, do I love the art I love to look at and make… more than the art I was demanded to accept by my teachers?”

And, to be honest. No. I don’t think I did.  This was a scary thing to learn about myself. But I really had a lot hate and anger built up. For YEARS. It took me this long to realize it wasn’t doing me any good. I wasted so much energy on my hate than I didn’t have a whole lot left over for my love. I myself desecrated the art I loved by thinking “It’s better than garbage being made today.”

There’s so much ugliness, guys. There really is. There’s war, there’s tyrants, there’s people online who say nasty things they never say to that person… in person. In our political climate, all I see are people finally having an excuse to destroy, not people who really care or want to change things. Every day, we just want to use the misery of our own lives and ruin it for everyone else. I don’t have to be that person. Neither should you. I hope you’re not, or at least on your way.

If you want to fight modern art, or ugliness, or hate, or anything that’s damaging to this world, then think about what you love, and be the best of what you love. Be kind, make things that bring meaning to others. Don’t hide behind your meaning (and computer screen) as an excuse to hurt people or tear things down. There is ugliness in people, but there’s beauty in them too. When people see you acting this way, and that you fervently believe and act out your meaning, then it will inspire them to do the same. If they don’t agree with your ideas, but you don’t attack those people or tear them down, they’ll be more likely to listen to you.

And yes, there are truly terrible, psychopathic, malevolent people out there. With that in mind, love your family and your friends more than you hate the psychopaths. And certainly love those in your life more than those who disagree with you.

 

 

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Why I Copy

Hey all,

Since I’ve returned home from Italy, I’ve finally gotten into a routine that involves small self-improvements with bigger goals in mind. Namely, waking up at 5 am and painting for 30 minutes before work, which would inevitably result in gorgeous masterpieces by the end of the month with a total of 15 hours per work of art…

… I hope, anyway. 15 might not be enough. Depends on the artwork I guess.

Into my routine, I’m hoping to do a weekly blog post. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Why do I copy Old Master oil paintings? I’ve been asking myself this question for months.

1. It’s Fun

 

While I was in Italy, one of the things I did consistently make oil reproductions of portraits that I thought were beautiful. They may not have been my original pieces, but as I worked on them, I found that I had a dialogue with the art. I really enjoy doing it. It makes me happy. It’s like finding a new piece and falling in love and all I can think about is getting to know the artwork, and the artist, just a little bit better.

I learned new brushstrokes, found strange quirks and color choices I wouldn’t have picked up just from looking at it, I made mistakes, and learned from them for future pieces.

2. I Learn New Things from Old Geniuses

 

The artists long dead became my mentors, and they taught me more in four hours than I ever did four years of art classes.

I think as artists, we should never stop learning. Even if our style becomes something we’re truly proud of and we don’t think we could ever improve and better our art (and, in extension, ourselves), there’s always something new to learn.

In fact, a couple years ago, I heard about DC Artist, Jorge Jimenez. He regularly posted to his twitter feed art. He loved art, and just talked about art. He tweeted something to the extent of “Great Artists Never Stop Learning”. This almost moved me to tears. At the time, I was more obsessed with trying to create original pieces (not that I made a lot anyway, I just stood there being frustrated). I thought, “Yeah. Why not stop learning?” As a result, I just drew hands, drew more things from life, and tried not to stop learning.

I found that the best way to learn, to quote Newton, was to build on the shoulders of giants. So to speak.

3. My Copies Aren’t Really Copies.

 

Even so, I can’t copy these artists exactly, nor do I want to. I’m not saying that out of a “Sour Grapes” approach that I can’t get that good, but my hands and my brain have their own spark of creativity built from years of knowledge, emotions, and experiences that appear in the art, making them different.

For example, in my copies of Bouguereau’s young girls, I subconsciously made them look like my sisters rather than the girls he was trying to portray. It made me wonder if his paintings really looked as much like his models, or if there was something in his own mind that changed them.

4. Maybe a Sense of Spiteful Rebellion

Dear Post-Modernist loving professors,

Get. Off. My. Back!

Just let me enjoy historical art, for Christ’s sake! Take this checklist you’ve shoved down my throat of “Patriarchy, Male Gaze, Marxist Deconstructionisticnonesense” and shove it up your-”

5. It’s a Calming Meditation

 

Copying isn’t just copying. It’s really a puzzle that you try to solve.

You actually deconstruct the artworks.

When I paint, I deconstruct the people into basic shapes in order to achieve the correct proportions, I deconstruct the colors and try to figure out what other colors brought that particular shade and vibrancy. I deconstruct everything from the face, to the cloth, to flowers, the fur on a dog… It’s an amazing exercise for the brain using all parts of it and all senses, the mathematical part, the smell of the paint, the music affecting the overall mood of the project.

It’s one thing to look at, analyze, and appreciate a painting, but it’s a whole other thing to analyze it with your hands and your own artistic skill…

…and the difference between me and those PHILISTINES I just mentally screamed at into the uncaring void above in item 4, is that when I deconstruct a part of our culture, I aim to analyze it, learn from it, then build it back up again maybe just a little more new, yet maintaining respect and integrity for the original.

It took me too long to realize that THEY only want to destroy. Their “deconstruction” serves not to create, not to learn, but to DESTROY!

… On that note, I’m going to go back to painting. Maybe turn on some heavy metal. This ought to yield some interesting results.

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